Exposure and Integration Gap-Hug and Nudge

Sometimes a warm hug is the answer to our question and sometimes a gentle nudge is the answer.

'Hug and Nudge' is a fortnightly column with two different perspectives from two different continents and cultures on the same question in personal development area viz. 

Jennifer Sertl (based in New York, USA) and

Dr Amit Nagpal (based in New Delhi, India).

Question-"There is value in friction and perhaps the greatest friction of all is our humility” What does it mean?"

Jennifer Sert's Answer

Greatest Friction of All is Our Humility 

Recently Michael DiVirgilio @divir noticed that last line I wrote in "Familiarity Can Be Dangerous"  “there is value in friction and perhaps the greatest friction of all is our humility” and wanted to know more about what I meant. 

Exposure does not mean integration.

Many reading this are familiar with Jim Collin’s "Good to Great" and the concept of Level 5 Leadership  As many people have read that wonderful invitation to interrogate reality and continually question assumptions, very few are able to actually put it into practice. We sometimes think “exposure” equals “integration.” That simply isn't the case. My Smartphone indicates when I have looked at a message by giving a date & time stamp. Many times I have merely glanced and not even read the message. We think seeing something means we've absorbed it. There are two distinct processes that need to occur i) absorption -decoding a message and taking it into account ii) interpretation - making sense and translating the message based on internal references. The friction I am speaking about here is the the actual distance between experience and integration. The humility is the acknowledgement that gap exists and the best we can do is subjective interpretation. We must begin saying more “from my lens - this is my experience” vs “here is how it is!” 

Sleep cycles and repetition for depth.

We are obese with our bodies and our hunger for information. I know several people who watch TED Talks like a morphine drip. Content consumption does not necessarily change behavior. A voice I respect on learnership (intentional) is Chris Argyris who suggests that teaching smart people to learn is a challenge  . This article I Force Function myself to re-read at least once a month. He suggests that people learn in loops versus straight lines and that re-exposure to information helps it anchor deeper and become more easily integrated. What that means is that for really important concepts where you are seeking mastery - a few things deeper and repeated might actually support your development more than additional content. The friction I am speaking about here is the discipline to allow for time and repetition to help information anchor. The humility is allowing yourself not to feel like you are missing out as the sea of information keeps showing you bright shinny shells in your Twitter stream. Let them wash on by as you hold onto the pearls that you know already embody all that you need.

Too Big to Know

Our culture is still feeling that one must be an expert or a source to have value. The whole concept of content curation and cultivation is not yet mainstream. Our need to be sources and/or experts may have us feel vulnerable by asking questions or collaborating on areas where we are “supposed to be the authority.” We have to accept that knowledge acceleration has increased at such a pace that it is irrational to think anyone can have the ability to contain it all. Knowledge has gone from solid --> to liquid --> to gas. Now would be a wonderful time to reread the wonderful Fast Company article "The Learning Decade". There is simply too much going on. So much so, David Weinberger @dweinberger wrote an entire book on the topic "Too Big to Know ". The friction here is that to get domain expertise you now have to be in a talent cluster. To belong in a talent cluster you have to be gracious, collaborative, and resourceful--all muscles that are flexed differently than being a domain expert. The humility is the surrender to value being a conduit of information. 

This is just the beginning of a larger conversation. However, it is my hope that these three frames offer greater insight into what I mean by saying “there is value in friction and perhaps the greatest friction of all is our humility.”

I chose to add this picture that was my favorite shell I found on Captiva Island this April. It caught my eye and reminded me the distinction between being collected vs. being selected. As with sea shells, in the selection of people to follow and links to absorb, discernment is our friend.

And don’ t you know I am listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees version of "Dear Prudence" ♫  ♫



Brief Profile

Beacon of hope. Purveyor of discipline.
Global Citizen. Transleader.
Coach. Facilitator.
Co-Author- Strategy, Leadership & the Soul and Founder of Agility3R.

Watch on Youtube


Dr Amit Nagpal's Answer

I saw, I partly absorbed, added my beliefs, Interpreted with a dose of culture and my soft and hard corners and now I claim it to be the ultimate truth.” Have we not done it at least once or we rather keep doing it once in a while?

Humility is probably the most difficult quality to learn and practice. There is a gap between exposure and absorption and there is also a gap between absorption and practice. A constant reflection is required to understand the role perception plays in our experiences and judgment. (the perception gets further mixed with our values, beliefs, attitudes, emotional baggage and so on). Since it is impossible to reflect all the time, it may be good to do the reflection before crucial decisions and in times of crisis and failure.

But I see more and more people realizing the crucial lesson of humility. I see more and more people mentioning “Learner” in their Twitter and other profiles. Recently I was attending Impact Careers 360 Conference in New Delhi and one of the Speakers asked the audience, “How many of you are students?” To my surprise, Chairman & Founder of exchange4media (organizer of the event) Mr Anurag Batra immediately raised his hand. In fact a friend of mine proudly claims to be an enlightened soul covered with a foolish mind.

What is the starting point of humility? It is the acceptance of one’s humanity and vulnerability. It often comes from an attitude of looking within and questioning, “Where can I improve? Have I gone wrong? How can I apply what I have learnt?”

There is a saying that the desire for enlightenment is the beginning of enlightenment and similarly the desire to reflect and correct is half the job done. I wrote on a humourous note once, “The mind sometimes behaves like an idiot. The soul shies away from telling it upfront.” Let us not shy away from accepting our vulnerability, our limitations, our gaps and scope for improvement. Let us not shy away from accepting our humanity.

And the earnest or keen desire always gets the support of the Universe. 

Brief Profile
Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant and Mega Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, "Enlarge as a Human Being, Excel as a Social Media Being and Evolve as a Personal Brand"

To know more about Dr Nagpal, visit www.dramitnagpal.com

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